October 16, 2008

Crapo, Simpson Work To Keep Jobs In Idaho

Urge Federal Transit Authority to Reject Waiver Request Costing American Jobs

Washington, DC - Idaho Senator Mike Crapo and Representative Mike Simpson are attempting to keep jobs in Idaho and elsewhere in the U.S. by urging the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) to reject a waiver request from the Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority (MBTA) that could cost hundreds of American jobs. The MBTA, which is working to fill a pending passenger locomotive order, is seeking an FTA waiver of regulations of the Buy America Act which mandates the use and purchase of U.S.-produced goods in federal procurements whenever possible. MotivePower, Inc. (MPI), which is based in Boise, was the only domestic bidder on the project with a fully compliant bid without exceptions.

"The United States, and our home state of Idaho, is fortunate to have a U.S. company, MotivePower, Inc., which is fully capable of meeting the needs of the MBTA and will employ U.S. workers and use U.S. suppliers in the process," Crapo and Simpson said in the letter to FTA Administrator James Simpson.

Should the FTA grant the waiver request, 85 high skill engineering jobs could be exported to Spain and 200 Boise manufacturing jobs could be lost. The waiver grant could also undermine the competitiveness of domestic industry and accelerate existing pressures on the locomotive industry.

"Granting this waiver does not make sense," said Crapo. "Exporting American jobs is never in the best interest of the country, but it is especially detrimental during the economic climate that we currently experiencing. Representative Simpson and I have requested the FTA reject this request because it is what's best for Idaho and the country."

"Congress passed the Buy America Act long ago to insist that American dollars be spent on American companies. Given MotivePower's extensive experience, quality product, ability to meet the contract demands, and use of American workers and suppliers there is simply no justification in allowing these trains to be made overseas," said Simpson. "In tough economic times, we need to do all we can to protect American workers and good American companies like MotivePower so I am proud to offer my assistance in the form of this letter."

A copy of the letter sent to the FTA accompanies this release.